Sunday, September 16, 2012

Curtiss Seaplane Homecoming 2012

Circa 1915:  Imagine yourself on the shore of Keuka Lake, in Hammondsport NY, not long after the automobile was becoming a common site.  The Wright Brothers were still basking in the sunshine of becoming the first Americans to fly. Here, in this small town in upstate NY, Glenn Curtiss was sliding "a boat with wings" into the waters of one of NY's finest, famous, Finger Lakes.  The engine on this boat was hand cranked with an optomistic expectation that it would fire and continue to run.  It was to propell an experinmental boat into the bay and then into the air.......RIGHT!!!  This was a remarkable accomplishment, an accomplishment that most of us take for granted.  I had a chance to witness a re-enactment of this event by a small group of individuals who built a replica of a Curtiss Flying boat and launched it into the waters of Keuka Lake and watched her struggle to stay straight and level in the water until her horsepower finally gave her enough speed to lift the boatlike airframe above the surface of the water.  The crowd on the shore almost willed her to fly and as she became aiborne cheers could be heard.  This was the spectacle almost 100 years after Glen Curtiss piloted the flying boat himself. This reenactment is conducted each September and if you enjoy aviation and aviation history, you should plan to attend.


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